'The 4th batch of three IAF Rafales landed on Indian soil after a direct ferry from Istres AirBase France,' informed the Indian Air Force on Twitter
The fourth batch of three Rafale fighter jets landed in India on Wednesday evening after flying non-stop from Istres Air Base France, in a further boost to the strike capability of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
"The 4th batch of three IAF #Rafales landed on Indian soil after a direct ferry from #IstresAirBase France," informed the IAF on Twitter.
As per the Air Force officials, three Rafale fighter jets, which took off from France for India, were scheduled to land at the Jamnagar airbase.
On Tuesday, Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India, had said that five extra Rafale jets will be ferried to India by the end of April. These would be other than the three Rafales, which arrived on Wednesday.
With the arrival of the three jets, the size of the Rafale fleet has increased to 14.
The second batch of three Rafale jets arrived in India on November 3, while the third batch of another three jets joined the IAF on January 27.
The first Rafale squadron is based in Ambala air force station.
India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of the aircraft at a cost of ₹59,000 crore.
The aircraft had started joining the IAF fleet in the July-August timeframe last year and were quickly operationalised by the Air Force in the shortest possible time.
The aircraft had also been deployed for patrolling along the China front in eastern Ladakh and other fronts during the height of the China confrontation.
India to get more Rafale jets from France
India is expected to get more Rafale jets from France in the next few months.
The Rafale jets, manufactured by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.
The Rafale jets are capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA's Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, Scalp cruise missile and MICA weapons system will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets.
The planes equipped with the Hammer missiles have enhanced their capability to carry out air-to-ground strikes like the one in Balakot.
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